Next steps in action plan for indigenous rights kicks off

Minister for Māori Development Willie Jackson has today meet with more than 30 national Māori organisations in an online hui, kicking off the process to develop a plan for New Zealand to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (the Declaration).

The previous National Government signed the Declaration and committed New Zealand to develop an action plan to implement it.

“The engagement until February 2022, is with whānau, iwi, hapū and significant Māori organisations, and will then be followed by a wider public consultation with New Zealanders on a draft Declaration plan next year,” Willie Jackson said.

Te Puni Kōkiri, the National Iwi Chairs Forum and the Human Rights Commission worked together on an engagement strategy that aims to ensure as many Māori voices as possible get to share their views on what should be included in a Declaration plan.

Willie Jackson said because of COVID-19 they have had to adapt the engagement to running through online workshops.

“It’s important we have these conversations with Māori as our indigenous people first, and this is what we did with Māori organisations today. It is innovative and pragmatic for these to be online. We don’t want to put our communities at risk and online engagement is the next best thing,” Willie Jackson said.

“Unfortunately, COVID-19 is intensifying the inequity issues Māori already face in areas such as health, housing, justice and education, so it is timely to be undertaking this week.

“Setting a roadmap for how New Zealand is improving outcomes for Māori is a way to deliver tangible results that we can track.

”This work builds on the previous National Governments decision to sign the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and will enhance our partnership with Māori. New Zealand is one of 148 countries that support the Declaration.

“Making a plan that all New Zealanders are proud of will take careful consideration and time. The kōrero we have had today is an important first step,” Willie Jackson said.